Train to be a data scientist

Deciphering data: Sharala (left) and Li talked about training next-gen data scientists.

Deciphering data: Sharala (left) and Li talked about training next-gen data scientists.

Buzzwords come and go, but the song remains the same. What was once called pervasive computing is now known as the Internet of Things or the Internet of Everything.

Similarly, the concept of analysing and making sense of large chunks of data is now called Big Data – the concept isn’t anything new, but the need for it has become increasingly important as companies collect more and more data from consumers from a variety of devices, ranging from smartwatches to connected cars.

However, while many IT professionals have 90% of the skills required to be a data scientist, which includes programming, mathematical and statistical skills along with a good dollop of common and business senses, bringing it all together to extract useful knowledge is another matter altogether.

This is where The Centre of Applied Data Science comes in – formed in collaboration with The Data Incubator, a United States-based company that offers training in data science, the centre offers a programme that aims to train participants who already have the right set of skills to become an effective data scientist.

Endorsed by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and the government of Malaysia, the course is targeted mainly at academia and industry experts with advanced degrees relating to Data Science, including math, science, engineering, physics, etc.

The centre offers a two-month intensive training which includes lectures and mini projects to apply ideas and make sense of it in a practical way.

According to Sharala Axryd, founder and managing director of the centre, the first batch of graduates (of which 70% were fresh data scientist graduates and 30% were taken from academia) have just completed the course.

Axryd adds that while the course is targeted at people with the appropriate qualifications, anyone can join the course, as long as they can pass a test that shows that they have the required skills.

Proper grounding in programming, statistics, math and communication are essential skills to have when considering taking up the course, said Dr. Michael Li, executive director of The Data Incubator.

According to Axryd, the demand for jobs relating to Big Data is growing every year, with demand in Malaysia for data scientists currently at about 1,500 - 2,000.